The Carriage Driver - The Singer
Audrey Lane stood and surveyed the room. The dark hardwood floors shined. The wood of her piano near the walled mirror and balance bar glowed. Her studio served as her place of work. She made her living giving piano lessons and singing lessons.
In her parlor, there was a table covered with a brocade table cloth and in the center was a polished crystal ball. On the table sat a well worn Rider Waite deck of tarot cards. On her stuffed to overflowing bookshelves were Dane Rudhayar, Aliester Crowley, H. Spencer Lewis, Ph.D., Mary Baker Eddy and of course Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Descartes. The Torah leaned against the Upanishads and the Rig Veda. Her heart was full.
Tonight was her woman’s club. She wore a red velvet cloak. Audrey Lane shut off the light in her studio and walked out the front door into a moonless midnight.
She drove the seven miles to the meeting place. She was very familiar with the terrain. When she first found this spot, she carried in and planted white carnations that had since grown to a rich bounty, whose fragrance filled the air about them.
Lou Ann and the six others had already arrived. Gypsy was wearing a crown gold colored cloak, not easy to obtain. Mary Jane had chosen dark blue this evening. Lou Ann wore her purple cloak; she was starting the fire in the center of their gathering. They all turned at the sound of Audrey Lane’s approach and as she stepped through the opening in the carnation plantings, she stepped out of the world of man’s domain.
After their greeting, as the midnight hour began to wane, the women formed a circle around the fire. Audrey Lane removed her cloak and the others followed. She clutched the amulet at the end of a gold chain and began their chant. The others joined in as they started to dance in a circle.
Carry me to the land beyond me; all of life cannot be in vain
Mighty spirit do ordain me; raise me up where your heart reigns
Boost my voice this moonless night; free my voice of all refrain
We will, to dance beneath your stars; with your grace we will not abstain
The women circled the fire several times singing their chant. Then the dance ended. They retrieved their cloaks and sat by the fire catching their breaths.
Gypsy rose and retrieved the goblets and the wine. It was her turn. She handed out the glasses and poured the wine. The women talked and sipped their wine and listened to the night. The tensions of the week began to drain from them. One told of the pain she was feeling in her knee, because of a strain, and another of the strain her marriage was under.
In a bit, Audrey Lane led them in a song. Here there was no distain. When the songs were done, they stood and one by one gave hugs and went back to their cars. Each of the women leaving a few their worries here in the dark with the universe and each felt less of their burdens for having participated.
Audrey Lane was the last to go. She made sure the flames were out and gathered the glasses and empty bottles and moved back towards her car. On the way home, she thought how hard it was to live a life that was not mundane and if she would have the strength to slay all the dragons that needed to be slain.
As she entered her studio she felt her first chest pain, it hit her like a runaway freight train. She lay there wondering if she would attain the next level of succession or would she have to do this all again. She looked through the door and saw a carriage pulled by a white horse with a beautiful white mane. She called through the door, “I’ll be right there.” But instead ran to the bath and turned on a shower that made her feel like she bathed in the rain. She pulled on some clothes, then thought it likely arcane.
The Carriage Driver stood by Nuelle he had just cut an apple into four pieces; he gave two to Nuelle and ate the other two. He was in no hurry. The Carriage Driver looked up as Audrey Lane came, as she sang across the passage between them.
As she arrived at the step of the carriage, the Carriage Driver said, “Not many arrive singing.” He put out his hand and assisted Audrey Lane.
“You have to sing while the music lasts.” She stepped up into the carriage. “Where do I go from here?”
“I suppose that all depends on what you believe in, doesn’t it?” The Carriage Driver mused.
“Is it true that some people return as cats? Like in that movie with Jimmy Steward and that witch and warlock. You know, an animal-shaped spirit - a familiar.” She waited for an answer.
“I don’t know about that.” He gave a quiet snort of a laugh. It had been a couple hundred years since he heard a question like that.
Nuelle was happy not many entered the carriage with thoughts of returning as an animal other than a dog.
“No really, do I have some choices?” Audrey Lane sat back against the backrest. In a moment, she was humming in contemplation.
“You do have choices. You can return again to this earthly plane. You can select to go with your peers who have gone before. Anything is within your realm. You have taught singing and piano. You have opened your studio to allow ballet dance to be taught there. You have shown great intellectual curiosity. What is your desire?”
When Audrey did not call Lou Ann to verify she got home safely, Lou Ann called her. After several attempts, she called Gypsy who lived the closest. Gypsy called for an ambulance, knowing it was no use. The deep rich color of the wood flooring seemed to fade a bit. The piano in the corner of the room did not appear to stand as straight. The reflection in the mirror seemed less bright as she was removed from her studio. Gypsy informed Lou Ann, who told the others one of their Sisters rose to the next level.
Within an hour, all seven of the women who had just sung their song to the universe gathered at Audrey Lane’s studio to console each other. They held hands, then hugged and cried together.
“I can do or be anything?”Audrey Lane asked in a confiding voice.
“No one that has reached here has been denied. Not to my knowledge.” The Carriage Diver told her. Nuelle waved her beautiful white tail in agreement and tossed her mane. Hearing her thoughts, Nuelle stopped beneath the glow of two gaslights.
Audrey Lane leaned forward and whispered to the Carriage Driver, even though no one was around to hear her.
An odd look came across his face, “It’s never been done, but I don’t see why not.” He glanced at the sky waiting for thunder. But there was no thunder. He looked at Audrey’s hair portraying her regal internal beast. Nuelle made a full turn in the road. Audrey Lane in her human form was no longer in the back seat.
Nuelle arrived back in front of the studio and stopped. The Carriage Driver climbed down and walked into the studio. He sat what he carried in his hand on the piano unseen by the seven women. At the doorway, he looked back into the studio. The wooden floor again had its shine. The piano stood tall and there was warmth reflected from the mirror.
Lou Ann noticed it first. “Where did that come from?”
“It was not there a second ago,” Gypsy chimed in.
“What is it?” asked another.
Lou Ann looked carefully at the bottle. She pulled the stopper and dabbed some on her and passed it to Gypsy. Gypsy passed it on to the next until all had applied some of the liquid to their neck.
There were some words in French on the golden label. In English it said, Love Potion.
The Carriage Driver stood by Nuelle. She said, "She wanted to leave all her love to her sisters here on earth."
Santana - Black Magic Woman - 8/18/1970 - Tanglewood (Official)
Frank Sinatra - Witchcraft
This concludes The Carriage Driver stories. Your presence and your comments made it a privilege to bring these stories to you over the past months. I am most grateful.